The Kadeshi Crusade
A Homeworld Fanfiction
Originally posted May 15, 2001
Chapter 15 – The Sin of the Father
The battered Mule and her task force hyperspaced shortly outside an Allied base. A Kushan task force awaited them, perhaps in caution and hostility at the presence of a Lord class carrier with a task force of feared Ion Array Frigates and captured Kadeshi Multibeamers. But the Kushan task force quickly deployed into a parade formation. Their weapons powered up, energy and plasma cannons shot into the empty dark spaces, creating a spectacular fireworks display. Fighters paraded, then rolled in various acrobatics.
They are being welcomed as heroes.
But Seejuk Liirhra sees no joy in the welcome. He has promised the crew, who in turn, has sworn, for the return of their popular Segura captain and princess. Without Zha, the ship and its crew would be nothing. This would be the end of an Inner House. The ship would be assimilated to the other Houses, the crew disbanded and sworn to a different allegiance. This would also be the end of this ship and its spirit, the end of a place they also call their home.
For that and for their leader, they would be willing to brave the jaws of the Kadeshi again. The danger and the new purpose was what has given the Mule and her task forces a new lease in life. Like Zha, he has worked for these people long enough. Seejuk was born Kushan in blood and oath, but inside, he enjoyed the passion and independent spirit of the Raider. Life on his own Kiithid was structured and disciplined but the Raider life was always improvising, always on the edge. For years, Kushan media had portrayed the Raiders as bandits and demons. What he saw instead was a passionate freedom loving people, more like the old nomadic desert Kiiths in Kharak, with customs and cultures forged by a hard desperate life.
So what did the Bentusi said, that the key must lay in the past, in the change of heart? Even before the Exiles came, blood shed had reigned throughout the Empire. The Empire has fallen, but wars still continued, one cycle of vengeance after another. The Beast was an aberration. Without it, there was only cautionary peace, and continous wars with the Taiidan Imperialists and their Turanic allies. The Beast broke the Imperialist back, forged the alliance between Hiigara, the Republic and many other outlying kingdoms, and will soon have independent houses of the Raiders to join in. In the long run, what the Beast did was good, because it helped forge friendships and federations that were not possible before.
The Kadeshi? A few millennia of exile and isolation has twisted the survivors of a noble people into a race of twisted fanatics. The innocent children of the once great Hiigara were now paying for the sins so perpetuated long ago.
In all this time, people’s lives were being destroyed. People were dying. Seejuk had thought himself to be battle hardened. He had seen comrades die, he had seen refugees, he thought had seen them all. This was all part of duty, all part of war and winning. This is all for the species, all for the race. This would all be worth it if he wins.
But the exception was, he never had someone truly close to him that died. He was never close to any member of his own Kiithid. He never understood the agony of the Sleepers who awoke to find their loved ones lost. For the first time, he felt that pain. That child Zha, even if she belonged to a different race, she was much like the daughter he never had. She had a mischievous smile when he did her favors. She shuffled in the thin line between irresponsibility and responsibility, and it was his job to rein her in, force her to follow the straight line. He watched her become responsible to her people and her ship, watch and taught her to grow into her stature and position. He was in the unique position to shape a child into a great person for her people. It gave him a sense of fulfillment that he never had.
He had that strange thing a life with the Fleet Command and Intelligence never gave him. A family. The winning would never replace the agony of that loss. There was no purpose, nor joy, in life if the sacrifice was too great. He could never live with himself if she had died. He could never live with himself if he had turned his back on her. The fate of the Crusade, the fate of Hiigara, he could not care less anymore, until he gets her back. By the gods of Kharak, he swore he will get her back.
“Commander,” the ensign said. “We are in shuttle range of the base.”
“We can park the ship and the frigates here. Our duties and opportunities are specific. We have duty detachments to repair the Mule and the frigates in a round robin order. Second we need to detachments to oversee the construction of new replacement fighters and frigates. We may try to purchase new frigates and fighters as that can lessen the production load. Third, we need to restock on ship parts, supplies and foods. We’ll see if we can recruit new pilots. Fourth, those who are not work detail or any of the detachments can take a rest leave. We need crews fresh and rested before we undertake our next journey.”
Keep them rested or busy, he thought. The sound of the specific orders seemed to give confidence and purpose to the crew. That’s what they all needed now, he thought.
A Taiidan shuttle took him to the base. The docking bay had some dignataries waiting for him. It seemed flattering, as he never had the royal treatment before. Fleet Admiral G’aas Paktu was there again. He didn’t seem surprised that Admiral G’aas would be there. He gave his salute, and they saluted him back.
“We heard of your exploits. I’m sure you heard this over and over again, but if it were not for your timely distraction and attack on the enemy siege cannon, we would have lost the Kuun-Laan,” G’aas said. “We regret the loss of your captain and princess.”
“Give the thanks to her,” Seejuk said. “She was the one who save the Kuun-Laan. If she did not held the Kadeshi flagship long enough, that cannon would have toasted the Somtaaw’s pride and glory.”
“We plan to make a small ceremony to present you a medal, Seejuk,” Admiral Gaas said. “I’m also pretty convinced even more that you should be captain of the carrier Baal-Hasim.”
“I am most thankful for your graciousness, Admiral,” Seejuk replied. “But this is not the time. I do not deserve any medal. You are going to have to admit that a Raider girl just saved all your ass, and I don’t care if that does not sound politically acceptable with the Hiigaran news networks.”
G’aas seemed taken aback and his face grew a big wide grin. “Ha ha, I like your refreshing frankness. You’re not that old yet, Seejuk, not old enough to be corrupted into a bureaucrat by the system. If she had taken that bridal offer, she would have a home, I would have an easier time making a non-aggression treaty with the Raiders, and best of all she would still be alive.”
“She’s not your tool, Admiral. She is what she is, and if she did take that offer, the Kuun-Laan would be space debris by now,” Seejuk curtly replied.
“You got me pinned, Commander,” G’aas said. “I will not argue with you any more.”
“She is also not dead, Admiral, and we’re coming back to get her,” Seejuk said.
“Impossible, so who told you that?” Gaas asked.
“The Bentusi,” Seejuk answered.
“They really said that?” Gaas asked. “This is crazy. What is their interest on one particular individual? The whole of Hiigara is at peril right now, and I swear by the desert god of Kharak, I think you are planning to rescue her, one tiny individual.”
“One individual, that individual, is all that matters to change the entire universe,” Seejuk said.
“And how do you plan to do that? One carrier with frigates against motherships protected with major capital ships? How do you expect your limited complement of fighters to go against overwhelming numbers of swarmers? You may be brave but you don’t have to be stupid,” G’aas said.
“But the Bentusi has been right before. They said she had to be retrieved, for I can’t say the reasons for it right now. She can change the future…” Seejuk said.
“The Bentusi had been right before, but they have been wrong,” G’aas said. “They are fallible creatures. Remember during the Beast Wars? They had the power and the technology to flee the Beast. Instead they tried to cowardly flee the Galaxy, and even shoot at us when we tried to change their minds. They gave us the Super Acolyte, for only a brief time. But they had underestimated our ingenuity. Before they destroyed all plans and schematics in the computer banks, we had scanned and photographed the internals of the Super Acolyte, enabling us to develop the Beam Acolyte on our own.”
“Commander Seejuk, you cannot risk yourself, that ship of yours and its task forces, and all its crew just for the Bentusi’s hunch, that a single individual is alive, and even if that she is alive, you have to consider all those other people you have put on risk,” G’aas said.
“But I swore, Admiral, in front of these people, that we would get her back,” Seejuk said.
“You weigh the value of your oath, against the hundreds of people your oath has put their lives at stake?” Gaas countered.
“It’s the oath of a Kushan, and one of a Liirhra,” said Seejuk.
“Don’t bring out cultural issues this time,” G’aas said, totally unimpressed. “We are short of qualified officers. Your loss can have an effect in our battles to come. I have made the request to Black Star to relinquish you of your duties and move you to the command of the Baal-Hasim.”
“You are truly persistent, Admiral,” Seejuk said. “Am I really worth it? I think you overrate my capability. Our tactical successes aboard the Mule were due to a partnership. We could not have succeeded if me and the princess Zha Khor worked separately. We succeeded because we are a good team.”
“Face it, Seejuk, the girl is gone. You would have to find your teamwork somewhere else, particularly, among your own kind,” G’aas said.
“I cannot. Too much is at stake and I can see where this is leading to. Even if we defeat the Kadeshi, Hiigara would be so crippled by our Fleet and personnel losses that it would dramatically affect our capability to survive as a race altogether. That is if we defeat the Kadeshi. But what if we lose? No, we have been spilling our own Hiigaran blood. The Kadeshi are our cousins. We share the bloodline of Hiigara. This is not supposed to be our destiny, that brothers fight brothers. We can stand together in unification,” Seejuk said.
“Sometimes you are naive, Seejuk, or if you have a short memory,” G’aas said. “Remember that the Kadeshi turned down Karan Sjet’s offer. We fought the Taiidani Empire tooth and nail to gain back our Homeworld without the Kadeshi’s help. We deserve that world for our own, and the Kadeshi can go to hell. Now they want Hiigara back? Isn’t that too late? That ‘Unclean’ business they are having. That does not sound they want to share their world or want to do anything with anyone they call the Unclean. They may be Hiigaran in blood, but they are all psychotic whackos, and I think I would rather share our world with the Taiidani before I would want some whacko as my next door neighbor. The Daiamid has already carved up the Hiigaran real estate among the different Kiithid. They are not going to redraw the borders just to accomodate the mentally insane! For the god Sajuuk’s sake, there are reports that the Kadeshi are cannibalistic. No Kushan worth their body weight of desert salt would want them stepping on Hiigara itself!”
Seejuk replied. “We had thought that the Taiidani were all evil people. We had seen otherwise. We had thought the the Turanics were all bandits. We had seen otherwise. I think the Kadeshi are not like what we think, and we can tell them we are not what they think. I’m not a political dove, but I have to believe that there has to be an alternative. I may have to resign my commission then if I have to believe and pursue that path.”
“You will do no such thing!” G’aas ordered. “Commander Seejuk, before you made an oath to anyone, you made a blood oath as a Kushan first, and as an officer of Fleet Command. That oath requires you to defend the common good of all Kushans and Hiigara! The Oath of a Kushan is irrevocable.”
“And so I see, I have no option then,” Seejuk said, head slightly bowing down.
G’aas replied. “It is not that you have no option. It is that we, myself and all of Hiigara included, have no more option. It is time that we must stand our ground as a single people. I respect the courage of your princess, but she is gone, whether she is captured or dead. Put that behind you. Put the interest of your world in front of you.”
“Commander Seejuk, you will still oversee the repair of the Mule and her task forces. All repairs will be on our bill. We will compensate for any loss of fighter, corvette and frigate the Mule lost in that battle by supplying an equivalent from our own. That is quite generous, that the Mule will be given an equivalent exchange of her ship loss with a Kushan or Taiidan ship.”
“But that will be your last official duties aboard the Mule. The Baal-Hasim is on its way for you to take its place on her. Right now, a great fleet is gathering outside Hiigara, the great might of Hiigara and her Taiidan Republican allies. This time we will win, if not by technological superiority then by sheer force and numbers. We have installed a second Nomad Moon near the Mothership which has been upgraded into a satellite fortress. The Kuun-Laan is still in repairs but the Faal-Corum has been upgraded and fitted with a second siege cannon. The Taiidani have sent an Empress class carrier with several Qwaar-jet heavy cruisers and smaller carriers. We got the largest assembly of Archangel dreadnaughts and Avatar heavy cruisers since the Beast war.”
“The Kadeshi have won their battles, but they will lose the war. Our analysts have projected that the Kadeshi has themselves suffered severe losses among their ships and personnel. Their lucky streak will not go on forever. Our projections have indicated they now have a clear path to Hiigara itself, and we think this will be their next stop and final battle. This time, they will not have the element of surprise. This time they will lose for good.” * * *
Zha could not see the physical presence of the Forbidden and neither can G’yela.
“This is amazing,” Zha said.
“The Starfarer can leave their physical bodies and move in space with only their corporeal form,” G’yela said. “This is one of the beauties of our kind”
“Our kind?” Zha asked. “Am I not one of Turan and you of Kadesh?”
“Yes, Zha, but we are more than one of Kadesh and of Turan,” G’yela said. “The Farers of the Stars have placed their seed among many races. In time, the seeds do manifest in few single individuals. During our battle, I have sensed you, and gave the order that you must be captured. I apologize for that inconvenience. It is so wrong in our destinies that we must fight each other. You must see who you truly are to see what your manifest destiny will be. That is why I brought you here.”
Then a voice in the darkness. “It is our great pleasure that we meet you once again, the Siren G’yela. We all see that you brought a companion along. The one we have awaited, the Siren Zha.”
Another voice lighted up. “This Zha seemed so young. She is growing, learning her powers, but she is not there yet.”
Then another voice said from the light, “She has not learned the truth yet.”
“What truth?” Zha asked. ‘Please speak to me. Who are you? What is the Forbidden?”
A voice from the darkness said, “We are members of the Council. We are the Tiamat. We are the Wheel of Fate.”
“Who are the Farers? Why, they are our children.”
“Eons ago, all the members of the Council were once a single great star faring race. We were all Unbound. Our powers were so great that we span across galaxies. To all inferior races, we were like gods. We dominated this galaxy, and the next and the next.”
“But we have our differences, what you may conveniently call an “opinion”. In time, our division was our failing. We split into different groups based on our beliefs, and each group became a race to itself. We, the great Tiamat, they the cowardly and hypocritical Bentusi, and there are others. The Council is the only thing that holds us together, the one relic that ties our past as one people.”
“But before we divided, there are among us who saw a new sentient and intelligent species that had arose in a beautiful blue world that no one in all the races have remembered, the forgotten and first homeworld of all the races. They were much like us. Their women were beautiful, like the both of you. Those among us were attracted to them. They committed the first sin above all, and to be in love with the Bound. They were rejected by our people, but they voluntarily accepted their exile. That power of love must be so great that they were willing to sacrifice all, including the immortality of being one of the Unbound. And so they died as mortals, they died as the Bound.”
“But their powers—the powers of the Unbound—your powers—still lay with their offspring, like a gene. Their offspring became heroes and legends among the Bound. All of the Unbound have sworn that we will never interfere with the destiny and evolution of the Bound races. But the intermingling of the Bound and the Unbound have broken that directive, and has interfered with the evolution and destiny of all sentient races in the Galaxy.”
“So when the Bound people left the first ever Homeworld, they had an unfair advantage. Despite their primitive instruments, there were those among them who were able to sense and sing with the stars and the spaces. They were the first Starfarers. For generations and generations, the Bound people spread quickly throughout the galaxy. Their strength gathered, their technology improved, faster and more powerful than any other sentient species.”
“There was greatness among the Bound, but there was great evil among them too. Their trek to the stars was often accompanied with blood, the killing and extinction of other sentient species that denied them of their own destinies. The Bound has become a plague.”
“We, the Unbound, saw this as our great mistake. We, the Tiamat, saw an obligation to correct things, to interfere and alter the fate of the Bound. Others like the Bentusi wanted no interference, but they have often gone back of their word, to interfere in behalf of the Bound, sometimes to even trade with them.”
“In time, the Bound themselves has divided into many races, and with their mortality, they would forget their long past. They would become the Kushan, the Taiidan, the Turan, the Kadeshi, and so many races. Even among the Kushan, Turan and Taiidan, there are divisions, so you have your Kiithid, your factions, your Houses.”
“But the seed of the Starfarers would remain. A seed would blossom and rise in occasion to alter the destinies of a race. We, the Unbound, still love and care for our children, even the Farers of the stars. When the Bentusi detected the thoughts of Karan Sjet in the Kushan mothership, they saw one of their own. She had part of that power, which helped gave her the ability to guide the Mothership and the Kushan fleet back to Hiigara. But you G’yela, and you Zha Khor, you have powers in excess of Karan’s. That is why G’yela, you are the Chosen to lead your people, like the way Karan Sjet did for the Kushans.”
“What about me?” Zha asked.
A different voice replied. “The power of Turan was on the rise, opening the regions of the Outer Rims and on its way to form an empire on its own if left unchecked. But the Beast was the one external factor even we did not forsee. It altered the manifest destinies in ways we did not anticipate.”
“You have a destiny of your own, the Siren Zha. It is not in our place to tell you of this yet. It will come to you. Unlike that of the Siren G’yela, it is not yet time for you. It will unfold to you like a flower, petal by petal. You are discovering this one at a time. This journey you see now, is but another step. It has been fated. Your coming here is part of your destiny.”
“For you, G’yela. A darkening, coming storm awaits you. Behold…”
A globe appeared as a hologram. A planet. There were many hundreds of tiny lights around it.
“Hiigara,” the voice said. “Look around it. The Kushans and their Taiidani allies are building the largest fleets since the first Hiigaran-Taiidan war three millennia ago. We have wanted to warn you. This may beyond the capabilities of your fleet. This may be your greatest challenge.”
“…and I may not live through this…” G’yela sensed and said. “Why now? After all you have led me, and after I have led my own people. All this only to a certain death? We have spilled so much blood, that of our own, and that of our enemy. For what reason? For a planet that has less riches than our Gardens and for one we cannot protect as easily? Was to fulfill this prophecy worth so many lives? Why is this? This thing is all out of control. The Crusade has taken a life of its own. We have so far crushed the enemies in our path but it cannot stay forever like this. Neither will this bloodshed end even with the taking of the Homeworld, as the Taiidan will once again wage a continous war against us.”
“We are the Wheel of Fate, the Siren G’yela,” a different voice replied. “Your final fate is decided by your own hands. This is not the time for you to falter in your faith. Before you are a cowardly race hiding in the clouds, pouncing on the innocent and unsuspecting. Like a pack of bandits or thieves. Now, you are the most feared race in the Galaxy. They fear the name of Kadesh. What, you have no pride, Child? Your stagnation is your undoing, a living death. Now your people can truly live in all their rightful glory. Do not forget the spirit and passions of the people you lead, Child. Face your fear and face your death, if it comes to that, great Siren.”
G’yela bowed down. Zha could sense her tremble, her fear and sadness even in G’yela’s corporeal body. G’yela said, “Once again, I heed your word and I put my trust in the Wheel of Fate. Forgive me for questioning my faith. I know this is what the Great Mother wanted. I will not disappoint her.”
“Yessss…. Your Great Mother…” said the voice. “Now begone. You do not have much time. Since you are warned, you can prepare. Go now. Consider this an immense favor from the Tiamat. Such blessings do not come easy from the Tiamat.”
G’yela held Zha’s hand. “Just follow me again,” G’yela said. They lifted like feathers, and Zha again could sense the music of the cosmos, as they ride its melodies once again, away from the immense spider ship, past the starry orbs and rivers of nebula, back to their own bodies in the Pool of Dreams. * * *
Seejuk met his own officers aboard the Mule as he checked routine repairs in that ship.
“Are we ready now?’ Seejuk whispered.
“The Kushans have been patrolling heavily. They would expect a large ship like this to leave. But they would not expect this,” the officer said.
“Good,” Seejuk said, as he entered the docked Multibeam Frigate, one of those they captured from the Kadeshi.
“We had modified the controls so you could fly it. We installed the mimic holographic generators from the Demon interceptors. Your forces will never detect this, or suspect it,” said the officer.
“Very good. As you know, I will take this task alone. Please take care of the Mule and all her crew. I trust in you. I will bring back your Princess. I promise,” Seejuk said.
The officer closed the Multibeamer’s hatch. Inside Seejuk tested the controls. The frigate was designed to be piloted by a few people, but they have modified the computer system to accomplish much of these tasks automatically, allowing a single pilot to fly the ship. The Multibeamer slipped out of the Mule’s docking bay. Seejuk could detect Kushan and Taiidan patrols from the screens. He turned on the mimic generators, and the Multibeamer turned into an asteroid. Once he was in safe distance from the patrols, he turned on the hyperspace generators, and the Multibeamer disappeared into the hyperspace jump gate.